There’s a great story about John Kerry mountain biking in Denver during the convention, that is so worth a read: “My Un-Conventional Ride.”
The cyclist who road with Kerry was just a little blown away by Kerry’s cycling ability and agility:
On to the ride. Immediately he bumped shoulders with me on the first corner and thought nothing of it. Then he took the first 22 mph pull with me, side by side, for a good 10 minutes. I was somewhat impressed, for sure, but of course we still had some hills to go up. so I withheld judgement.
Chugging along at a fair clip, about halfway up to Jamestown, he had dropped half the group and started asking me for ideas on how to improve some of the anti-doping legislation he has been working to introduce into the Senate. Of course I was so excited he had interest in this area, I spoke until I was blue in the face. And he just about dropped me. Conversation at 280 watts at 6500 ft is not the easiest thing for me, much less a 65 year old guy with a job like his.
Kerry is a “real rider, with real knowledge of racing,” says Jonathan Vaughters.
The riders, the history, the races, tactics, and the problems of the sport. And he was fit as a champ. He kept chattering along and asking me a multitude of well-thought out and knowledgeable questions about cycling as we passed 7000 ft. He deftly rode out of the saddle and had quite a nice pedalling style on the steeper grades. Truly impressive.
OK, but all this said, when we got to the top, I knew his undoing was at hand. Descending is the enemy of people who have speeches to go to at night and important jobs to go to in the morning. I have years of experience of riding with sponsors and other folks with real jobs, so I know to take it easy on the descents. Else they get hurt or, at the very least, their egos get a bit bruised.
But man…O’ man… John Kerry descended like he stole the friggin’ bike from the GOP. As we hit the first switchback, he immediately put his weight back, counter-steered, and carved the corner like a pro. He put three bike lengths on me like Magnus and Stuey used to do to me back on Credit Agricole. Unreal. This guy was a pilot on the bike. Down the switchback of Lee Hill and over 90 kph and he was not phased… one bit.
Anyhow, after a great two hour ride, some very hopeful conversation about how government can help cycling become more popular and a real weapon against everything from obesity to pollution, and of course, Senator Kerry’s passionate and intelligent ideas on how government can help anti-doping efforts, I gotta say, I kinda like the guy…Politician and all.
And the dude can descend like a lunatic, so at he very least, I know he’s got balls.
Well… I guess Kerry showed him.